• India Tea News: Food Safety Standards Impact Tea | Dedicated Tea Hub Planned in Kolkata | Assam Considering Industrial Use of Tea Plantations

    By Aravinda Anantharaman | Managing Editor

    India Tea News for the week ending Jan. 5, 2024
    Port of Kolkata, Hugoi River anchorage
    Port of Kolkata, Hugoi River anchorage

    Dedicated Tea Hub Planned in Kolkata

    The Telegraph reported that the Bengal government plans a dedicated tea hub in Kolkata, similar to the DMCC Tea Centre in Dubai. The hub is planned to promote the value addition of tea for both the domestic and export markets. The land is being leased from the port authorities and will likely have warehouses and state-run units for blending and packaging. A lab for testing is also being planned to support compliance requirements for exported teas. At the moment, land to set up this facility has been identified by the government.

    Food Safety Standards Impact Tea

    Based on the recommendations of the Food Safety Standards of India, the Tea Board recently announced a ban on 20 pesticides used in tea cultivation. The ban was because it was unclear whether these pesticides suited tea. In October 2023, the FSSAI and the Tea Board held a meeting with stakeholders from the industry, focussing on the need for safety in tea. Discussions centered on the residue levels, adulteration in flavored teas, and the need to ensure greater compliance with safety standards. As the next steps, awareness campaigns are being planned to help farmers meet pesticide use and tea safety regulations.

    Assam Considers Reclassifying Plantations for Industrial Use

    Media reports say that the Assam government plans to reclassify tea garden land to include industrial activities. Currently, tea estates are taken on long-term leases from the state government and restricted in how and what they can be used for. If the land is reclassified, it is expected to encourage economic development. Discussions are ongoing, and what will emerge as the final decision and its impact on the Assam tea industry is to be seen.

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